The 5: Best SXSW 2013 Artists


This Week On the 5:  The Five Best Artists To Watch This Year at SXSW

SXSW has been releasing tracks from the acts playing during the festival since 2005. This year, 7.39 gigs of music were released through a torrent DRM free— that’s 1,210 tracks from as many different acts. We’ve listened to every single one, good or bad and sifted them down to our five favorites.  Here are our picks for  the five best out of the 1,210 songs released spanning every genre .   This couldn’t have been done without Ben Stolt compiling all this music into one place for us – http://www.sxswtorrent.com/2013 – big ups to Ben, forever.  All the music posted below was courtesy of Ben and sxswtorrent and the artists.

Emily Bell Grace London terraplane sun the harpoonis and the axe murderer Allah-las

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1.  Emily Bell, Back to the Way I Was.

A singer/songwriter hailing from Austin, Texas, Emily Bell sounds like an old soul but her music is infused with youth. She bounced around from Austin to Houston to the west coast, picking up her songwriting partner and producer John Evans. She’s combining southern rock blues and 60’s rock and roll into a sound that’s much needed. Her first album is set to come out in May and she’s currently playing showcases at SXSW and other venues in Texas.

* * *

2.  Allah Las – Busman’s Holiday.

In Allah-Las’s own words, they’re trying to sound like Old, Weird Los Angeles – and they’re succeeding. Psychadelic surf rock, strange California pop, and some Brian Jonestown Massacre thrown in for good measure is what Allah-Las is bringing. They hail from Los Angeles and they sound it. You can grab their self titled LP off of iTunes.

* * *

3.  The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer – Roll with the Punches.  

Yes, it’s a weird name but the singer has hints of a male Macy Gray going on and it brings the blues alive in 2013. Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers produce an organic and full sound for a band comprising of only two people and they pride themselves on not using any programming or looping. This is pure blues brought to America by two Canadians.

* * *

4.  Terraplane Sun – Ya Never Know.

Another act out of California, Terraplane Sun hails from Venice. They’re self described as a indie/folk act, but “Ya Never Know” invokes something reminiscent of a highly produced Bill Withers sound, except these guys are white. They’ve been getting high praise from the California music journalists for their live shows and oddly enough their use of real instruments and no auto-tune.

* * *

5. Grace London – Rocketship Girl.

Honestly, this was the biggest surprise in a playlist filled with 1,210 songs. This singer/songwriter is an astounding 13 years old at the time of this writing. These don’t seem to be arrangements or lyrics a 13 year old can pull off but she does. She’s currently living in Santa Monica. California. On her songwriting, she says “When I write songs, words spill out that really don’t make sense at all,” she says, “but when I look at it afterwards, it means something to me and I understand what I was saying when I wrote it!”  Additionally, she does a lot of charity work, so this is one busy  girl.

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126 Comments

  1. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I liked the last two songs, not so mush the first three. God bless you pooper hicks for going through those songs…

    • ADomeApart

      March 15, 2013 at 11:20 am

      @Morgan McNasty Yeah…the first two in particular were a little derivative for me.  Based on some of their album picks over the years, Pep and Ron seem to really be into music that doesn’t just get influenced by the 70’s, but sounds as though it belongs in it.  Sometimes that works for me, but often it just bores me as something that has been done before.

  2. FLprodivider66

    March 15, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I don’t know why “Ya Never Know” by Terraplane Sun isn’t at the top of the billboards right now?…it’s better than that Thrift Shop song!? Thanks peppy!

    • Morgan McNasty

      March 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

      @FLprodivider66 I agree that’s my favorite song here too.

  3. Pool Keepers Son

    March 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Everyone likes a 13 year old girl singing, it’s in our dna

    • Morgan McNasty

      March 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

      @Pool Keepers Son ex: Justin Beiber.

  4. dr freedom sauce

    March 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

    All Hail Centaur!
     
    I would love to pick something out thats missing but I sure as fuck didn’t listen to all those songs. 
     
    not a horrible song in the bunch. well played.

  5. sidwasout

    March 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Allah-Las definitely have an 80’s psychedelic sound, reminiscent of Dream Syndicate and The Lyres. Probably the band most in my wheelhouse, but nothing horrible in the bunch. I was half expecting the 13-year-old to be simply good for a 13-year-old, but she sounded pretty damn good at 12, so I imagine she’ll only get better. Maybe when her attention span matures, she’ll play something that’s longer than a minute. Short goes well with anger and speed, like punk and hardcore, but for her, it just sounds like she had to get back to watching Dora.

    • Grace London

      March 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      @sidwasout

    • Grace London

      March 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      @sidwasout This is the most hilarious and amazing comment made about me ever. Thank you so much for this gift.

  6. Yuuuck

    March 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Yea new music day.  This is all quality stuff but if I had to vote for just one it would be Terraplane Sun.   It’s a well put together song, I can’t wait to check out more from those guys.  Thanks buddies.

  7. FanBoy1

    March 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Meth is the only way one could have gone thru this massive folder so quickly.

    • sidwasout

      March 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      @FanBoy1
       What, you never heard of coke!?

      • FanBoy1

        March 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        @sidwasout not these days the coke sucks worse then the meth.

      • FanBoy1

        March 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        @sidwasout and I doubt Pepperkeet has that kind of cash for such a long habit.

  8. dr freedom sauce

    March 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

    1200 songs x 3 mins (rough average of length) = 3600 min
     
    3600 mins / 60 = 60 hours
     
    60 hours in less then a week? Seems unlikely.  That said in the end he did good.

    • c-money

      March 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      @dr freedom sauce i agree, to have that much free time pepps would have to have a lifestyle of just sitting around drinking and smoking pot all day.
       
      oh wait

      • dr freedom sauce

        March 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

        @c-money the 1st post was Sunday. It was mentioned on the show Monday and Hicks said he would start that night (i think). 
        that gives him 4 days to go through 60 hours. Thats 15 hours a day. And Hicks has a job so how many hours a day is he at the studio?
         
        and even with all the drinking and smoking drugs he still sleeps a bit.
         
        i guess my point is lying is Fez’s bit. He shouldn’t steal it.

      • dr freedom sauce

        March 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        @c-money and thats just with a song length of 3 mins. I’m sure the actual song lengths averaged longer then that

  9. Roadrash Hicks

    March 15, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Great picks. I like all of them.

  10. shotaboogray

    March 15, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I’m the minority then. I thought Terraplane Sun was the worst of the bunch. I got bored one minute in.

  11. iluvronnfez

    March 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    what about Gregory Alan Isakov, Haim, or Youth Lagoon? All great bands that performed there.

  12. iluvronnfez

    March 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    oh and Tyler Lyle…great album!

  13. D. Knepp

    March 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    You clearly forgot The Go
     

  14. iluvronnfez

    March 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Im a little disappointed because there are quite a few Indie bands that performed at SXW that were left out of the 1200+ tracks, such as Iron & Wine, A Boy and His Kite, and The Mogwli’s. Please listen to The Mowgli’s “San Francisco”…this song is going to be a huge hit. They play it alot on Sirius XMU.

    • dr freedom sauce

      March 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      @iluvronnfez he said he was going deep. 
       
      pepper did some other playlist w. iron & wine on it a little bit back

  15. jimdunnhawks1

    March 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    If this was the best then then future of music is doomed.

  16. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    the only 5 songs pepper actually listened to

  17. @iSmellBit

    March 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Nice work Pepper!

  18. Intern Popcorn

    March 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    THIS SUCKS. I THINK THE TOP FIVE MOMENTS IN HISTORY TODAY WOULD BE MUCH BETTER.

  19. SpongeSteve

    March 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Hey pepper, can u post the list of the 40 finalists. I don’t want to go through the 1200 songs myself

  20. FanBoy1

    March 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    whats playing now was one of the 5 best? out of 1200? Yeeeesh.

  21. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    the 5 intro song was better than all these

    • Peppy Hamburger

      March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      @joe8775 Stop trolling you faggot

  22. ImUrHuckleberry

    March 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t think Drunk Pep will make it through the list. He’s slurring like a MOFO !!!!

  23. Jon from NH

    March 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Great pick Drunk Pep

  24. GregMoser

    March 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Excellent work Peppy Hamburger.  Can’t imagine going thru over 1200 songs in that amount of time!  Especially as a centaur.

  25. SarahMcSmokeyPants

    March 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Good job Pep. Getting through anything without blacking out is a big accomplishment.

  26. Jon from NH

    March 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    how much weed did pepper smoke listening to all of these songs?

  27. LizSetsFire

    March 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Our friend Johnny Fritz aka Johnny Corndawg is down at SXSW all week as well. Love him.

  28. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    i see pepper worked hard searching “what are the best new songs from SXSW 2013” on google

  29. Cosgraves

    March 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    This Emily bell tune is awesome and only has 700 hits on youtube

  30. FanBoy1

    March 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    OK this song likes pills and NICK O TEEN. that made the 5 for sure.

  31. Aria Taint

    March 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Allah Las – Busman’s Holiday fucking great!!!

  32. cartermnyc

    March 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    fantastic songs but out of thousands of bands across many genres we’re getting mostly retro blues throwback from jack white’s number one fan.

    • Roadrash Hicks

      March 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      @cartermnyc yep they do sound like jack white protégés

  33. Aria Taint

    March 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    For once Hicks did something good..

  34. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    terraplane sun is the best on the list

  35. SpongeSteve

    March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Congrats hicks. Great list. When it comes to tasks that require no interactions with others you truly excel. Sure u r soft on the interns, but this was awesome

  36. Trevc8

    March 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Terraplane sun kinda has a coldplay sound to them

  37. laterday jk

    March 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    These are decent but the fact that it’s supposed to be the best of 1210 scares me.  I wonder how mediocre / bad the rest are?

  38. pdonnelly19

    March 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    really strong..  figured we’d bash this drunk bastard but I’ve got nothing

  39. Bagodonuts

    March 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Great work, Hicks. Loving Terraplane Sun

  40. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    That drunken retard has good ears

  41. Cosgraves

    March 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Pepper can’t pick a fuckin horse or nba winners but this is good

  42. InsideFezVoice

    March 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I am starting to worry because they are on the last song and I may have to talk soon. Umm…. what to say…think Fez think…um…..um…um……..

  43. Recyclerz

    March 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb & venture to say Carter never said that
     
    PS Nice picks Pepper

  44. BadNewsJeff

    March 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Why is everyone on Pepperino’s Diiiuccckkk?!  Get off his Cock!

    • SarahMcSmokeyPants

      March 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      @BadNewsJeff No one has ever said that to me before.

  45. Jon from NH

    March 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    i think it’s time to rename the show “ron and hicks”

  46. Trevc8

    March 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    holy shit that Grace London song is awesome

  47. PM630

    March 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    He missed HAIM…but, good choices..

  48. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    way to go centaur

  49. moktaylor

    March 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Looks like Pepper brought his “B+ game” today!

  50. Docintoxicated

    March 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Grace London is 13… Ant is trying to book her for “Live from The Compound”

  51. Christopher Brooklyn

    March 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I like the songs…but do all new artist have clip clop sounds in it…or is popps just stomping his hooves…or is that paws

  52. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    today fezzy was moved to 4th mic behind drunken e-rock

  53. J Bradley

    March 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Home run, Peppy. Touch ’em all!

  54. Peppy Centaur

    March 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    These are hoof clomping tracks!

  55. cartermnyc

    March 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    totally wrote that as a joke…  the songs are amazing and our staff actually had two of these bands on our list to see.  happy hour’s on me hicks!

  56. Docintoxicated

    March 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    It would’ve taken roughly 60.5 hours to listen to all these songs. Even if you only listened to 1 minute of each song it would have taken over 20 hours to get through this list.

    • BadNewsJeff

      March 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      @Docintoxicated
       Maybe he slept with headphones on.

      • Morgan McNasty

        March 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        @BadNewsJeff @Docintoxicated maybe he is a lying fucking centaur

      • Docintoxicated

        March 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        @BadNewsJeff horses sleep standing up so centaurs sleeping with headphones on isn’t too far fetched.

    • dr freedom sauce

      March 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      @Docintoxicated hate to agree… i worked it out to at least 15 hrs a day needed to do them all (based on the timeline of when he started)

      • BadNewsJeff

        March 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

        @dr freedom sauce  @Docintoxicated
         Don’t look a gift centaur in the mouth

      • dr freedom sauce

        March 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        @BadNewsJeff  @Docintoxicated he listened to more songs in a week then fez has in his whole life

      • BadNewsJeff

        March 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        @dr freedom sauce  @Docintoxicated
         You could do that on a six story elevator ride

    • Docintoxicated

      March 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I’m don’t think he’s lying… Just that he’s doing bath salts to stay up for days.

  57. kevgret

    March 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Terrplane sun’s song “Ya never know” aired on the 2/19 finale of suits

  58. shrekkalove

    March 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Really loving these new songs!

  59. Christopher Brooklyn

    March 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Great popps gets drunk and becomes a kid toucher.. wonderful

  60. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    It’s illegal to like this song

  61. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    This chick rules thou

  62. sharadoc

    March 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you Chris Stanley for suffering for us.And allowing us to enjoy some new music. Love you xoxoxo

  63. kevgret

    March 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Fix the link for grace london’s website.. its wrong

  64. Roadrash Hicks

    March 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Great job Peppy

  65. ecupirate

    March 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    7 National Army Rocks pepper i love these White Stripes covers!

  66. kevgret

    March 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Grace performing Bron-Y-Aur Stomp by Led Zeppelin

  67. Drunk Erock

    March 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    tHiis is prETty coOl………….

  68. Obvious Guy

    March 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    No way drunky listened to all 1210 songs… A 3 min/ track would mean 60.5 hours of music. Lying Centaur!

  69. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Music is for fags

  70. TemporalGrid

    March 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    You just can’t pay a mythical beast a compliment

  71. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    a horse is a horse of course of course

  72. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Seriously pepper good job, not even a mean comment to follow.

  73. joe8775

    March 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    pepper earned his (white) stripes on this list

  74. mrkerij

    March 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    as someone who’s been really heavy into electronic music for years now, some of these picks really make me want to get my alt rock game back up. excellent music!

  75. tomato_v

    March 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Good job Pepper!
    Apparently centaurs not only have hooved feet but also golden ears.

  76. Morgan McNasty

    March 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Great music to jerk off to

  77. PatInTheBronx

    March 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    The first one was the best

  78. giafromlongisland

    March 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Amazing job Pepper!!  You should see Baby Bennington tapping his furry paw. He is soooooooooo rock n roll!

  79. Boswelliott

    March 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Amazing Job, Pepper! Emily Bell is fantastic….

  80. Tippin8ez

    March 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    No allen stone pep? U couldn’t have listened to all.

  81. JinPA

    March 15, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Emily Bell, music is fantastic (though the video a bit weird…) Great job Pepper Hicks!

  82. Concho Pete

    March 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I downloaded the entire randomly alphabetized list.

  83. turfgrass64

    March 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Nice job Pecker Lips!

  84. pr0gr4m

    March 16, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Not saying that I don’t like the tunes but they seem to be very Hipster picks.

    • Chillwinston

      March 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

      @pr0gr4m

    • Chillwinston

      March 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

      @pr0gr4m That was such a completely hipster response.  Bravo.

    • cartermnyc

      March 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      @pr0gr4m nah.  these are all just great songs

  85. knowgusto

    March 16, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Big Ups Pepper….
     
    Good Job. Loving Allah Las – Busman’s Holiday.

  86. Tacoshack27

    March 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Great work Pepper.  You did an amazing job with the top 5.  5 great and diverse bands.  That takes dedication to listen to all 1210 bands.

  87. roweknows

    March 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    that  Terraplane Sun record was very very strong …im looking  into thier records … grace london was shocking especially the last turn of that song … i cant imagine sitting thru 200 songs to find these let alone over 1000.. but overall i found some new acts to listen to

  88. nervousfrog

    March 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Book Emily Bell on the show asap!

  89. Chillwinston

    March 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Harpoonist….sounds like the Black Keys and Wolf Parade had a baby.

  90. cbearnm

    March 17, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Great list Peppy. I have spent hours on just part II, really appreciate the effort. Part I will take me forever.
    Some great music there.
    A song that jumped out at me as well was K’LA – ‘Til Death.

  91. jerkaruso

    March 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

    I spent 5 days looking for Rob Cross and came up empty handed.

  92. ceskaholka72

    March 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Rocketship Girl was written and recorded when Grace was 11.

  93. ceskaholka72

    March 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Grace was 11 when she wrote and recorded Rocketship Girl.

  94. DrunkCentard

    March 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Great picks Pepper.. I would love to see a top 30 instead of 5 though.. I just don’t have the time to go through 1200 songs

  95. sumwhatdim

    March 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    this gem is in there
     
     

  96. Yuuuck

    March 19, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I’m listening AGAIN!

  97. TheMeebs

    March 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Awesome list Pepper.  Love that Emily Bell song. Probably my favorite.  The rest are a little too indie rock sounding for me.

  98. Kay1399

    March 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Go Grace London. Good job.

  99. bmazing

    March 30, 2013 at 2:38 am

    I couldnt believe when they said Allah Las. Ive been listening to them for a couple months and really like their sound